Last month, former California water agency director Anthony Sanchez, 34, was arrested after a video shot by a neighbor began to circulate online. In the video (seen below,) Sanchez appears to be beating his stepson with a belt in the backyard of his Imperial Valley home. The beating, according to Oscar Lopez, the neighbor who filmed the incident, was a result of the boy dropping the ball. Three days after the video was posted, Sanchez turned himself in.
In his first court appearance today, Sanchez pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony child abuse and was released on bail. Sanchez’s attorney, Ryan Childers, said the beating seen in the video was “discipline,” and did not happen because the boy dropped the ball. ”This was discipline as a result of behavior during a game of catch, and that’s all it was,” Childers said, “It’s not illegal to spank a child, and it’s not illegal to do it with something other than your hand.”
During the video, Lopez and Sanchez have a heated exchange in which Lopez demands that Sanchez stop hitting the child, and Sanchez responds with, “Are you having a problem with the way I’m raising my son?”
After the video gained attention online, Sanchez resigned from his post as director of the Imperial Irrigation District.